Upcoming Celtic Christmas Concerts

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This year’s Celtic Christmas Concerts will kick off on December 1st at the Chatham Fiddle company. The wonderful fiddler, Rose Clancy will be joining me for all the concerts. This celebration of the mid winter season has a distinct Celtic flavor and extends from the little known Kilmore carols of Wexford to the Irish-American vaudeville stage. We will explore both the Christian and Pagan traditions surrounding the Winter Solstice in a mixture of songs, spoken word and instrumental pieces in a delightful musical tapestry to celebrate the season.

Dec 1 – Chatham Fiddle Company, Chatham, MA

Dec 3 – The Homegrown Coffeehouse, Needham, MA

Dec 10 – The Circle of friends Coffeehouse, Franklin, MA

Dec 16 – Linden Place, Bristol, RI

More information about all the concerts can be found at my Calendar.

Winter woes…

The concert in Harvard, MA originally booked for tonight has been postponed until March 15. Sorry for any inconvenience. Stay warm!

March concerts…

The March St. Patrick’s Day season has begun… here are the upcoming concerts for the Clancy Legacy featuring myself and Aiofe:

5th at The Blackstone River Theatre, 549 Broad St, Cumberland RI; info: 401-725-9272

6th is an afternoon concert on Nantucket Island at the Atheneum, 1 India St. 3PM

March 12 and 13, we are in Marietta OH at the Graham Auditorium, Washington State Arts and Sciences Center. 8pm on the 12th and 3 pm on the 13th.

On March 16, St. Patrick’s Day Eve, we return to the Kinsale Inn in Mattapoisett MA, 13 Water Street, 7:00 PM, info: 508-758-4922

The next two concerts are solo:

March 18, The River Club Music Hall, 78 Border St. Scituate MA; 8;00 pm. Info 339-236-6786 and March 25 at Linden Place, 500 Hope Street, Bristol RI; 7:30 pm, Information & Reservations: 401-253-0390.

All of these are on the Calendar Page with links to the venues. Hope to see you at one of these concerts!

2010 Celtica Tour

Map of west IrelandThe itinerary for next year’s Celtica Heart of Ireland Tour, The Best of the West is now up online and available for booking. I have never seen the bookings come in so quickly. There seems to be a pent up demand from those who were wary of going earlier this year because of economic uncertainties. We also have several repeat passengers, which is wonderful. The 2010 tour will ramble up the west coast from West Cork to Mayo taking in some fabulous places along the way including three islands, Garnish Island, The Great Blasket and Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. We will also visit some of my favorite towns – Kenmare, Dingle, Doolin, Galway, Cong and Westport, among others. Some of my favorite hotels are also on this itinerary. Benner’s Hotel in Dingle is one of the places people never want to leave and Renvyle House in Connemara has an amazing chef and serves some the best food in Ireland. I can hardly wait. I’m ready to leave right now.

I’ve been back in the studio for the past few days, putting the finishing touches to the new Clancy Legacy CD. Hopefully, it will all be finished in the next month or so and ready for release before Christmas.

I have some interesting gigs coming up, starting this weekend with the Maritime Folk Festival in Portsmouth, NH. I want to thank Celtic Crossing in Portsmouth for their generous sponsorship that made my participation possible. I’m looking forward to checking out their store while I’m there.

In a few weeks I’ll be doing a concert on board the square-rigged ship Balclutha in Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco. I did this a few years ago and really enjoyed it so I’m looking forward to going back. It’s a great feeling to be singing sea songs on an actual ship.

On my way out, I’ll be stopping in Tucson, AZ to do a concert, kindly organized by Melissa and Chris Tatum. I have always loved Tucson and it’s been several years since I was last there so spending some time there will be an added bonus.
The weekend prior to that, I have a duo concert with Mick Moloney at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland RI. The following day, I’ll be with Aoife Clancy at the Irish Heritage Festivalin Quincy, MA.

The first time I went to St. John’s, Newfoundland I was bewildered by the sense of familiarity that I felt. The people all looked like the people I had grown up with in Waterford and the accent was almost the same. It’s not surprising since it’s mostly people from Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny who first settled the area. They first went out fishing for cod on the Grand Banks in the summers and gradually began to spend the winters there as well. St John’s got its name from the St John’s parish in Waterford city where I was baptized so I feel a real sense of connection there. It looks like I’ll be doing a few concerts in Newfoundland in November. I’ll have more on that in a week or two or you can just check my Concert Calendar, if you are in that area. That’s about it for now. I hope you all enjoy the lovely fall weather.

The Clancy Legacy lives on

The Clancy LegacyI have just added a bunch of new shows to the Concert Calendar. Most of them are Clancy Legacy concerts as Aoife, Donal and I are trying to do as many shows as we can together. We are in the process of recording a new CD and you can listen to a few of the rough mixes at The Clancy Legacy on My Space.

It should be a great session this Sunday afternoon at the Oakhurst mansion in Whitinsville, MA. We are expecting some great singers like Dan & Bonnie Milner, Bridget Fitzgerald, Michael O’Leary and many others. I’ll kick things off with a short concert and then it morphs into an open session where everyone can sing. See the Concert Calendar for more info.

We still have space available on this year’s Celtica Heart of Ireland Tour. Aer Lingus just announced a sale on flights to Ireland so, between that and the stronger dollar, this is a great time to join me on our Northern Sights Tour. You can call 1-800-299-CELT (2358) for more info or if you have any questions.

I heard from Brian O’Donovan, host of WGBH’s Celtic Sojourn radio show that they are archiving their “live” Boston Sessions and the first one is now available. I was delighted to be part of it, along with a bunch of wonderful musicians like Hanneke Cassell, Flynn Cohen, Emerald Rae and many more.

On the high seas


This year’s Irish Music Cruise was a great success. I really enjoyed playing with Aoife, George, Matt & Shannon. Since we were setting out from Los Angeles, Willie Quinn organized a great concert for us in Santa Barbara beforehand. We had a great time but were surprised to find the weather was cold and wet. It was weird to see snow on the mountains around Los Angeles and it didn’t really feel hot until we got to Acapulco. We spent a few days at sea but we had some great sessions on board the ship. Cabo San Lucas is a strange place. When you go ashore they greet you by putting an iguana on your head. Thanks to Hamish Burgess for the photo.

We had some great additions to the roster this year with Danny Doyle, Fiona Walsh and Ciaran Sheehan. Danny’s show about the 1916 Rebellion was brilliant. The only downside of the week, for me, was the Patriot’s loss in the Super Bowl. I still can’t believe they got out-coached and out-played but hats off to the Giants for playing so tough. They won it fair and square. The 2009 cruise will be in the Caribbean and we will get to visit a lot of Mayan ruins. I’m really looking forward to that. The information should be up soon at Irish Music Cruises .

I’ll be doing my first gig in Bristol, RI next Saturday at the Stone Church Coffeehouse.
The Clancy Legacy will be back at the Kinsale Inn
in Mattapoisett on Sunday March 2nd for an afternoon show at 4.00 PM. There are a bunch of other shows coming up in Michigan, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Massachusetts and West Virginia and you can find all the relevant on my Concert Calendar.

Keep an eye out for a Concert Film and Documentary, called Absolutely Irish, by award-winning filmmaker, Paul Wagner. The world premiere screening will take place on March 2 nd at the Irish Arts Center in New York. It is edited down from about 8 hours of performances we did last April and features an amazing cast: Mick Moloney, Susan McKeown, John Doyle, Seamus Egan, Eileen Ivers, Karen Casey, Liz Carroll, Joanie Madden, Athena Tergis, Niall O’Leary, Darrah Carr, Tim Collins, Jerry O’Sullivan, Mike Raferty, Billy McComiskey, Brendan Dolan, Rhys Jones, Mac Benford and Jo McNamara. And, oh yeah, I’m in there too. I haven’t seen the film yet but it was an incredible concert so I have high expectations. There’s a clip of the Fiddlers on You Tube. The full show should be on most PBS stations in the month of March. It will also available soon on CD and DVD.

The Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI is hosting a photographic exhibition, called In the Heart of the Hibernian Metropolis by Fionan O’Connell until March 20th. Fionan is my first cousin and an amazing photographer as well as one of my favorite people on the planet. You can read more about the exhibit and see some of his work at Fionan O’Connell.

I’m getting together this week with Aoife and Donal Clancy to work on material for a new CD. We hope to do some recording next month and get a Clancy Legacy CD out by the end of the year. With all our different schedules, it’s tricky finding times when we can get together but with a little luck we should be able to do it. By the way, we will be playing together at the Dublin Ohio Irish Festival this August.

I’m looking forward to the Irish tours this year. I’ve had enough of winter and I can’t wait to be in Ireland in May. The WGBH tour is sold out but we still have a few spaces available on the Celtica, Best of the West Tour May 19-28. Wandering around the west of Ireland in the month of May is hard to beat and you can join us if you wish by contacting Celtica Tours.

Christmas season 2007

Some of you may remember that this time last year I was one of the performers in the Christmas Celtic Sojourn at the Emerson Majestic Theatre in Boston. That concert is now out on DVD and CD. Either one of them would be a great present for any fan of Irish music.

Another great gift idea is the book I co-wrote with four other performers: “Clean Cabbage in the Bucket and Other Tales from the Irish Music Trenches.” It was published just a few moths ago and the response has been amazing. The first printing is almost sold out so don’t wait too long to get your copy. Here are a couple of early reviews:

“IT IS FIRST AND FOREMOST, FUNNY; BUT ALSO MEMORABLE, AT TIMES SHOCKING, POIGNANT, INSIGHTFUL AND A VERY COMPELLING READ. THE ONLY TIME I PUT IT DOWN WAS TO GIVE MYSELF TIME TO STOP LAUGHING.”
JOHN O’BRIEN IRISH AMERICAN NEWS OCT 07.”

“The book gives you an insider’s view, painted by these expert storytellers, of a musician’s life…. Just try reading one story and putting the book down. It is impossible. The great yarns come one after another, so plan on spending a large block of time with it once you crack it open.”
Mike Farragher: www.celticlounge.com

The book, DVD and CD are available at
Celtica Music Shop and will ship in time for Christmas if ordered before 18th December.

Last Saturday, Aoife and Donal Clancy and I kicked off our Clancy Legacy Celtic Christmas tour with a sold out show at the wonderful Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI.
This weekend we will be in Germantown Maryland and the following weekend in Sewell, NJ, West Hartford, CT and Mattapoisett, MA. After that we will be in Dennis, MA and Milwaukee, WI. You can find all the details on my Concert Calendar

One of the great things about being a procrastinator is that sometimes it works in your favor. The guy who still hasn’t taken down his Christmas light from last year only has to plug them in again this year. In a similar fashion, the free MP3s of Christmas songs I put on my website this time last year are still there. How’s that for procrastination? Feel free to download them at you leisure. It is probably safe to assume that they will be there for a while.
Free MP3s

Several people have asked where they can find my song The Winning Side. It is on the Never Learned to Dance CD, which will be re-issued in the next few months. However, you can download a free MP3 from the Songbook section of my website.
The Winning Side

The Celtica Heart of Ireland Tour 2008, The Best of the West is now half full which is very good for this time of year. Once again we have several return passengers who can’t wait to get back to Ireland in May. With the US dollar so weak against the Euro at the moment, it is incredibly good value. You can check out the itinerary and all the details at Celtica Tours.
Celtica Tours

I would like to wish you all a Happy Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year!

Fall Update

I finally got around to updating the concert calendar on my website. I feel a bit like the Energizer Bunny. I’ve been going non-stop all summer and I just got back from Ireland where I spent a great few weeks. One of the problems with being away so much is that you are constantly playing catch-up. But, at least, I now have the concert calendar up to date for a while. Robbie’s Concert Calendar

In addition to solo gigs, I’ll be doing shows with Aoife and Donal Clancy as The Clancy Legacy, including our Celtic Christmas Concert. Our first gig will be in Mattapoissett at the Kinsale Inn next week. Kinsale Inn

The Green Fields of America is going on the road again. The current line-up is Mick Moloney, John Doyle, Billy McComiskey, Athena Tergis, Jerry O’Sullivan and myself. We recently completed a new CD which will be out on the Compass label in February 2008. I have no idea what the title will be but I will post all the relevant info as soon as I have it.

I will also be doing some shows with George Keith and with Matt & Shannon Heaton including a Mexican Riviera Cruise in January. Irish Music Cruises

The new book, “Clean Cabbage in the Bucket and Other Tales from the Irish Music Trenches,” has finally been published and is available at Celtica Music Shop.
Dennis O’Rourke, Seamus Kennedy, Frank Emerson and Harry O’Donoghue and I got together and compiled a collection of our adventures on the Irish music scene over the past thirty years. We had great fun writing the stories and the reaction so far has been tremendous.

Earlier this year I produced a new CD of Marie Duprey called “Watch The Tide” which I think turned out great. Usually when you finish working on a new recording you don’t want to hear it again once it is finished. But I can’t stop listening to this album. It’s just a lovely collection of great melodic songs and Marie’s singing is excellent. It is now available at Celtica Music Shop

Celtica’s “Best of the West” Irish tour is now booking for May 2008. There’s nothing as beautiful the West of Ireland in the month of May and space is limited so please check out the itinerary before it’s too late. Celtica Tours
With the falling value of the dollar, this is an incredible deal so come with me and I promise you will have the time of your life.

I hope to see you all at some of the shows. Come backstage afterwards and say hello.

Summer Update

I hope you are all enjoying the start of summer. I just updated the concert calendar on my website with a bunch of new shows so I hope you will check it out. Robbie’s Concert Calendar

I will be teaching a class on Songs, Singing and Performance at both the New York Irish Arts Week and Irish Week at the Augusta Heritage Arts Workshop in Elkins, WV
Class Description

The Celtica Heart of Ireland Tour in May was a huge success and, as usual, we had a wonderful time. I’ll be joining Brian O’Donovan again in September on a WGBH learning Tour called an Irish Sojourn. This will be our 4th WGBH tour and it is almost sold out. So if you are interested in that, please don’t delay in contacting WGBH Learning Tours for more info.
Visit Ireland with WGBH learning Tours

For those of you interested in the May 2008 Celtic Heart of Ireland Tour, we are still working on the itinerary but it should be on the website in the next few weeks. Celtica’s Heart of Ireland Tourl

Last year I joined the board of the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI. Russell, Bob, Mary Lee and all the volunteers have have created an amazing venue for both performers and audience. I have been a great admirer of the wonderful work they did in restoring a beautiful building and the incredible line-up of acts they bring through there each year so I am delighted to now be part of it. This year, on July 21st, they are having a Celtic festival at Diamond Hill State Park in Cumberland, RI. I lived in Franklin, MA for many years and every time I drove by the park, I though it would be a great setting for a festival. Now it is about to happen so I am really looking forward to it. They are also in need of volunteers for both the festival and the theatre so if you are interested, please contact them.You can find out more at:
Blackstone River Theatre Festival

Over the years I have played with lots of different musicians and I always enjoyed it. It keeps the music fresh and gives a little edge to the performances. This summer will see a few new musical collaborations. I am looking forward to doing more shows with Aoife and Donal Clancy and George Keith as the Clancy Legacy as well as with James Hamilton, the flute player, who will be joining us for the first time in Webster, MA and in Butte, Montana. Sea songs have always been a special favorite of mine so I am thrilled to be doing a Sea Music Festival in Quebec with Dan Milner, one of my favorite singers.

For the past couple of years I have been working on a book of stories from the Irish music scene with four other singers, Dennis O’Rourke, Seamus Kennedy, Frank Emerson and Harry O’Donoghue. Dennis came up with the idea and edited the book which is a collection of stories and anecdotes about life on the road, the gigs, the characters and the craic. It is called, ” Clean Cabbage in the Bucket and Other Tales from the Irish Music Trenches” and it will be available in July. I will do a special emailing when I receive some copies and it will be available on the Celtica website and from Amazon.com. It was a lot of fun writing the stories and Dennis did a great job of pulling it all together. Having five different voices telling the stories gives it a broad range and an interesting variety of styles so I think it will be a great fun read.

It’s going to be a busy summer for me but I am looking forward to it and I hope to see you all at some of the shows.

St. Patrick’s Day Rant

I warned my readers in the beginning that this blog might contain occasional rants. So far I have kept the lid on but no longer. When I see our great rite of spring referred to as “St. Patty’s Day,” I am ready to blow a gasket. Where did this abomination come from?

St. Patrick’s Day is fine if a little formal. “St Paddy’s Day” is comfortable and unpretentious especially for those of us with a healthy skepticism of religious formality. But what kind of fiend coined “St. Patty’s Day?’ Every corpuscle of my Irish blood rebels against this Disneyized, Hallmarked, Fox-newsed abomination. Like the anemic spawn of a morning television show presenter and puerile sitcom star, this appellation has all the insincerity and triviality of a game show. I never once met a man called “Patty.” It might suit a hamburger or a peppermint but not the patron saint of Ireland even if he was a Roman Briton. This has to stop. Don’t let them get away with this.

I know that other problems like global warming and the war in Iraq and Nero in the White House may seem more pressing but 1600 hundred years of Irish history and culture are at stake here and deserve to be treated better than minced beef.

Okay, I think I’m all better now, at least until next March.

Luckily, Aoife, George and I got out to Chicago on Thursday night last to meet up with Matt & Shannon. If we had waited until Friday, we might very well have been stuck here in Providence with the snowstorm that disrupted flights for four days. We had lovely gigs Glen Ellyn, IL, Wausau, WI and Schaumburg, IL and great weather to go with them. Many of our friends on the east coast had to cancel gigs because of the weather so we felt very fortunate.

Isn’t it odd that in thirty years of traveling around the USA and Canada in the month of March, the only gigs ever cancelled due to bad weather were in Dallas, TX and Richmond, VA? We had some close calls in other places. I remember rushing off stage into a taxi on Prince Edward Island in a mad dash to the airport to get out before a blizzard hit and crunching through the snow on Third Avenue in New York when a taxi could not be found at any price. But overall the show went on regardless and people turned out no matter what the weather. I guess it’s all part of March madness and I don’t mean basketball. So here’s to Naomh Padraig and the rites of spring!